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4.4 out of 5 stars20
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Review: There's a new drug going round. Death. Giving you a week to live, and an eternity to not. Adam's life is going very badly when he is given the chance to take it. Drawn in to a dangerous gang world, protesters, extreme violence and high stakes, Adam will discover what he has to live for.
I was really excited about this one. I've not read Junk or anything by Melvin before, but I feel like I should. The premise of The Hit was instantly eyecatching and exciting, and one that I could see going in any number of directions. Melvin took it in a good way.
Adam is a character that you get very close to, probably because of the intimacy and intensity of the things we go through with him, you know, thinking he'll die being the major one. He is immature at times, but also real. Lizzie is the saner girl, even though she is forced into the world of danger that Adam gets involved in. Christian is horrible, and scary in the way that real properly evil horrible people are. The mob network and the opposing group, the Zealots, were well fleshed out.
Plotwise, it works. It's kept moving at a good pace. Things come round in funny ways. The ending-the outline was predictable, the exact workings of it, not so. The writing-really good.
I was surprised that after the emphasis on Death in the press thing and on the internet and thing, it was plot driven by the gang and action like that. It worked as a story, but with the concept, it wasn't what I was expecting and I think I would have liked to see a bit more questions being posed as a larger component of the story.
That said, it did raise quite a few. Would you take it? How would you spend your last week? Would you think it was worth it?

Overall: Strength 4 tea to a gritty and real book with a thoughtprovoking look at death and life.
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Melvin Burgess really doesn't pull his punches or talk down to a teenage audience.
This one is no different to others of his I've read - stark, violent in parts, not for younger teens.

The premise is superb - a new drug is available that when taken gives you a huge rush of life for one week. Then kills you. There is no antidote. Once you take it, you have seven days left. Brilliant, eh?
The story involves the not-uncommon teens in love, but set in what appears to be a slightly dystopian modern world, with revolution on the horizon and Zealots using the drug and situation for their own political ends.

It's hard-hitting stuff. Especially when psychotic gangsters enter the plot, with Lizzie, sweet everyday teen caught up in a horrific situation that seems almost out of place in this sort of literature. It's this section that is almost distasteful and hard to bear.

Not for the faint-of-heart, but powerful thought-provoking stuff.
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on 21 October 2013
Though I am an adult (!) I read a lot of YA fiction cos that's the genre I write and my son is nearly a teenager, and he reads some of it. I had the good luck to go along and hear Melvin Burgess talk about his book at Ilkley Literature Festival the other week and then sign copies afterwards. The chat was mainly aimed at 12 plus year olds with only a scattering of adults in the audience. Burgess was great fun to listen to, on the ball, witty, straight talking and on the back of that I read his book, The Hit. It's a great read, fast moving, taking the reader into Adam's world immediately, sweeping you along. It's set about 40 years or so into a future Britain, where there are huge divides between rich and poor. As always with Burgess' novels there are some grim and gritty themes which he deals with well- I suppose grittily! His depiction of the pyschotic gangster Christian stayed with me in particular, very convincing and spectacularly nasty. I would probably suggest a reading age of 14 upwards, as this book is perhaps not for younger teenagers. Its messages of life, the value of it, how you live it and the choices you make are truthful and hard hitting and relevant to all age groups, not just teenagers. Loved it.
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on 10 November 2013
I bought this book as soon as I saw it in online bookstore. I didn`t know one of my favorite writers wrote a new book. I immediately ordered it and waited to get it. When I got it, I started reading it while walking home from post office. Melvin Burgess is one of my favorite writers since I was a teen. I read all his books that are translated in Lithuanian. Even now, when I`m adult, I still like to read his books. I buy every new book that appears in Lithuania like crazy and read it as fast as I can.
It`s not the highest class book, but it has something in it that made me read it non-stop for two days. A plot is very intriguing, just thrilling! Somebody should make a movie by this book, it would great action movie. I had fun reading this for two days, it was amazing weekend!
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on 9 June 2013
starts with a fine 'what if' - what if there was a drug so good you could do anything but it killed you in a week? the hero and heroine get entangled with the rather caricatured villains who make the drug 'death' - lots of fast paced action but maybe less character development than in his other books? setting it against a background of riots and civil disobedience at the power of an overwhelming state makes it really topical. exciting.
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on 7 April 2014
As a born & bred Mancunian, it was utterly thrilling literally following the characters around Manchester! Fallowfield isn't my area but watching the rioting & climax unfold in town was too exciting for words & while Christian Cooke may be a Leeds lad, having a fellow Northerner narrate the Audible audio book was a brilliant choice! Had me hooked on the book all week - quite fitting, considering the story's timeframe!
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on 15 April 2013
Melvin Burgess is regarded as one of the best writers in contemporary children's literature. He is also one of the most controversial and in his latest novel The Hit he demonstrates both his skill as a writer and his willingness to make us more than a little uncomfortable when we read one of his novels.

The idea behind The Hit is in itself fascinating. The original idea for the book was formed by a group of A-level Philosophy students and their tutors before being taken forward by Chicken House publisher, Barry Cunningham. Due to the subject matter of the book, and it's somewhat unusual birth, Cunningham approached the author he knew wouldn't mind working a bit differently and who wouldn't mind dealing with the controversial idea at the centre of the book - Burgess.

Told in a dual narrative by teens Adam and Lizzie The Hit is set in a near future where Manchester is on the brink of revolt and their is talk of revolution in the air. Revolution and anarchy is being fuelled by a new drug that is flooding the streets - 'Death', a euthanasia drug that gives you the best week of your life - before killing you. Looking for an easy way out from his self proclaimed 'rubbish life' and still trying to come to terms with the death of his brother Adam succumbs to the lure of 'Death'. However despite an initial euphoric rush Adam soon realises that life may indeed be better then death.

The whole concept of 'Death' is exceptionally clever and is an amazingly powerful 'hook' into the novel. Once the reader is 'hooked' Burgess takes them on a relentless, adrenalin fuelled adventure through the streets and industrial wastelands of Manchester. As we move between Adam and Lizzie's story we see the effect their actions have on each other and the story at large. The book is full of twists and we are kept guessing right up until the final chapter about the final outcome of the book.

Burgess has created a novel which covers a number of issues relevant to teenagers today; drugs, friendship, sex, politics and of course euthanasia. He writes about these issues in a way that teenagers can relate to whilst at the same time he makes them think about the moral and philosophical impact of what happens in the book. The issue of drug taking is not glamorised in anyway in the novel and readers are left with many questions to consider about the impact of drugs on society.

Despite this there there will be some who will find this book controversial. For me Melvin Burgess should be required reading for every teenager in the UK. It's books like The Hit that can turn teenagers into readers.
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on 15 April 2013
Originally published on Serendipity Reviews
This book is not for the faint hearted. Within the first few pages you are thrown into this world forty years in the future when unemployment is at its highest and the recession has taking full control. The book portrays an extremely realistic and frightening view of what the UK could one day become. On the death of the rock star Jimmy Earle from a recreational drug that gives you the best week of your life, followed by your imminent death, the country erupts into violence and revolt. Everyone wants to live like Jimmy and the drug Death, floods onto the streets via the cult organisation, Zealots. You get a chill speeding through your body, as the riots occur and spiral out of control, reminding you all of the violence and demonstrations that took place on the streets of the UK a few years ago. It makes you feel uneasy and uncomfortable, but you find yourself compelled to read further to find out what will happen.

The Zealots are a rather scary organisation with hints of present day terrorist groups flavouring their image. Suicide bombing is as natural to them as taking a stroll in the park; the group members are brainwashed and happy to die for the cause. With the added ingredient of gangsters, mob mentality and drugs flooding the market, you have a strong, gritty and determined contemporary thriller. A YA version of Martina Cole's adult novels.

I didn't like Adam to begin with. He came across as a desperate money grabbing hormonal teacher, intent on shagging a rich girl and making her pregnant. An instant turn off to any girl. I suppose if the world had turned in such a way, he would represent a major group of teenagers with the same mentality. Lizzie came across as a stronger and more likeable character. She wasn't perfect, she had that selfishness inbred in many teenagers oozing out occasionally but on the whole she wanted to the right thing for Adam.

The idea of a drug that would give you the best week of your life is an interesting one. As the story progresses, you realise the drug doesn't do a lot to create the exhilarating experience anticipated. A lot of it has to do with attitude and the drug takers overhaul the way they view their life - with one week to live they are determined to live it to the fullest and do everything they can. If you knew you had one week to live and you were feeling healthy, you would go utterly wild, it's human nature.

The violence in this book is hard hitting and graphic. Not a book I would let the younger readers of YA read. In fact the content is verging on a cross over novel. There were scenes that made me flinch, enough to give me nightmares. Christian scared the hell out of me; he was sick in his mind and attitude. His gruesome obsession with the spinal cord was extremely disturbing.

I do think this is a book you will either love or hate, depending on how much violence your stomach can take. Melvin Burgess is known for his hard hitting, no nonsense Young Adult books, well this one is a classic example that the author doesn't bow to niceties.

A fast paced, gripping story that kicks you right in the gut.
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on 2 September 2013
This book is very well written and you feel for the characters. it makes you angry, sad, happy and sometimes cry. it's a real page turner and I couldn't put it down. it makes you guess what will happen and whatever does it takes you by surprise. I loved it and that's why I rate it 5 star.
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on 26 June 2014
The hit was a very interesting book, the concept itself is fascinating and as discussed in the book, controversial. The turn that the story takes is unexpected, but works with the story line, tying up all loose ends. I strongly suggest to read The Hit.
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